After Orthodontics

After several months or even years of orthodontic treatment, it’s finally time for your braces to come off. The journey to achieving the perfect smile is a long and daunting one, but it doesn’t completely end when your braces finally come off.

To maintain your perfect smile, there are still some things that need to be done after your initial treatment. In this post, we’ll cover all you need to know about what happens after your orthodontic treatment at Ballard Orthodontics.

Removing the Braces

If you have regular traditional braces on, they should only be removed by a qualified orthodontist. This means you’ll have to schedule an appointment for the braces to be removed. How long this braces removal appointment will take varies from one case to the other. But in most cases, it can be completed relatively quickly.

When you come in to get your braces removed, your Sandpoint orthodontist will loosen each bracket using a special metal device. This should pop out the brackets and wires of the braces in one piece. The molar band used to anchor the braces to your molars will also be slipped off. This process should take only 15 to 20 minutes.

The process of removing Invisalign aligners is less complex compared to traditional braces. It only takes a few minutes to remove the aligners. But you still need to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for this. Because Invisalign aligners are easily removable, some people just pop them off when they feel their teeth have moved to the desired position. You shouldn’t do this. You should follow your treatment through to the end and visit your orthodontist to get it removed.

Cleaning Your Teeth

Usually, your teeth will need a thorough cleaning after the braces have been removed. This helps to get rid of any discoloration, plaque, and food particles that have been trapped behind the braces during the treatment. Teeth cleaning after orthodontic treatment also helps remove adhesives that were used to fix the brackets or aligners to your teeth. Your Bonners Ferry orthodontist will drill away this resin and polish the surface of your teeth with a grinder to eliminate all the residue.

Getting Your Retainers

One of the things your orthodontist will do during your final appointment is to take x-rays and bite impressions of your teeth. This is done for two main reasons. First, these scans will be compared to the initial impressions of your teeth taken prior to treatment to check if the braces have achieved the desired results.

The digital models will also be used to make a retainer customized just for you. This is a type of orthodontic device used to keep your teeth in place to prevent them from shifting from their new position. Retention is the final phase of orthodontic treatment, and it’s necessary to help your teeth, gums, and surrounding bones adapt to their new position in the first few months after your active treatment has ended.

There are two main types of retainers. There’s the fixed wire type installed at the back of your teeth, and there’s the removable retainer. You’ll get a fixed retainer installed on your teeth right after your braces come off. Then the final scans or impressions will be used to make removable retainers which you’ll get within 24 to 48 hours. How long you’ll need to wear a removable retainer depends on the arrangement and condition of your teeth. On average, retention takes about 12 months, but some people may need to wear their retainer for longer.

Caring for Your Retainer

Caring for your retainer is relatively simple. You simply brush your mouth regularly as you would normally do. Retainers can either be made of wire plates or clear plastic, similar to a mouth guard. Clear plastic retainers are the more popular choice because they’re more comfortable to wear and virtually invisible.

In addition to cleaning your mouth regularly, you also need to remove your retainers when you want to drink, eat, or play sports. Be sure to keep the retainer safe (preferably in its container) anytime you remove it. You should also keep the retainer clean. You can rinse or brush it each time you remove it before putting it back in.

For the first few months, you may need to wear the retainers for up to 22 hours per week. With time, you will be able to switch to only nightly use of the retainers or just a few nights per week. Your orthodontist will track your progress and guide you on how to use the retainers properly.

Oral Aftercare

Good oral care in the form of diligent brushing and regular dental appointments is a crucial part of orthodontic treatment. This continues even after your initial treatment has been completed. Here are a few recommendations for oral aftercare in the weeks and months after your braces have been removed.

Brush Your Teeth Regularly

Now that your braces have been removed, you should find it easier to clean and brush your teeth normally. Be sure to brush your teeth consistently multiple times again (especially after meals). You should floss daily, too, and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash. Many people experience discoloration after orthodontic treatment. You may be able to get a whitening treatment to make your teeth look better. The discoloration may also disappear on its own as your teeth undergo a natural remineralization process.

Watch What You Eat

Not being able to eat everything you want is one of the many troubles of orthodontic treatment. Removing your braces often means you can now eat some foods that you were prohibited from eating for the past few months. However, you might want to take it slow with hard or sticky food like candies, popcorn, hard bread, and raw vegetables, especially if your teeth feel sore after the removal of your braces.

Visit Your Dentist

Everyone, regardless of whether you've had orthodontic treatment in the past or not, needs regular dentist visits. But it’s even more important to see your dentist regularly if you’ve just had braces removed. Your dentist will check for any sign of tooth decay, plaque, and other similar teeth issues during your routine visit.

Check-in With Your Orthodontist

During the next few months, you will need to book regular appointments with your orthodontist. This will allow you to have an orthodontist check to ensure that your teeth stay where they should be. After about 6-9 months, you’ll need to have another x-ray to check the position of your teeth.


Removing your braces or Invisalign is only one step on the long road toward getting the perfect smile. You still need to follow the directions of your orthodontist and follow the recommended aftercare routine after your braces come off to maintain your results. To learn more about your orthodontic treatment and aftercare, visit our orthodontic clinic in Sandpoint or Bonners Ferry to speak to one of our expert team!